Blogging is an inexpensive and effective way to build brand awareness and drive more traffic to your website. It stands to reason that people want to read about what interests them, so writing regular blogs about subjects that resonate with your target audience is an important way to increase website traffic.
Blogging and the buying process
When it comes to influencing buying decisions, blogs are big business. According to Demand Gen Report’s 2016 ‘Content Preferences Survey,’ blogs were used to make 66% of purchase decisions in the preceding 12 months. That represents a 5% increase on the 2015 report, so imagine what that statistic looks like in 2019 (you can download the latest report here, but you’ll need to submit your contact details).
Having said that, blog articles aren’t a silver bullet for online sales success. Just like traditional high street shopping, your prospective clients will go through several stages before they make the decision to buy from you. For example, the process of buying a new summer dress might look like this:
- Browsing. You’re having a look around at this point. A sales assistant asks if they can help. You reply ‘Thanks, but I’m just looking.’
- Evaluation. You decide you want to buy a summer dress. Your reply to the sales assistant might therefore be ‘I’m going on holiday and want to buy a new dress.’ At this point, you haven’t decided which dress to buy or where from.
- Purchase decision. You’ve chosen the store you want to buy from and selected a dress. You go back to the shop and purchase it.
To work effectively, your approach to blogging needs to mirror this traditional sales process. In other words, you need to write content that appeals to prospects and clients at each stage of the journey outlined above. (According to Demand Gen Report, 41% of consumers will read three to five pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep).
Want to start blogging but not sure where to start? Imagine can help
I can help you create a blogging strategy that reflects the buying journey for your target audience. Here’s how the process works.
- Keyword research.
The first stage is to research relevant keywords for your industry so these can be weaved into your blog copy and used in meta data such as article tags to help with search engine optimisation (SEO).
The types of keywords researched should include general search terms for your sector, words and phrases about your products and/or services, and geographical keywords if local trade is important to you. Both short tail keywords (e.g. summer dress) and long tail keywords (e.g. buy new summer dress in Nottingham) should be considered.
There are lots of useful tools that can help with keyword research, such as SEMRush which helps you identify the most relevant search terms and those with the biggest reach. SEMRush will also come up with related keywords and make suggestions for other terms you could use. Here’s an example of the results you’ll get when you input ‘why blogging is important for your business’:
- Create a content plan
Once you have your keywords nailed down, you’ll need to come up with a content plan. Again, I can work with you on this to identify the types of content your target audience might want to read about at different stages of the buying process. For example, for someone at the beginning of the ‘summer dress’ journey described above, you could write an article about the relative merits of buying a summer dress as opposed to a skirt and top – what are fashions and trends looking like at the moment?
Then, for someone at stage two of the process, a relevant article might compare the latest catwalk designs for summer dresses and how these are being emulated on the high street. Finally, for stage three where you’re ‘closing the deal,’ you could write a piece that’s more focused on your own business and the benefits of buying a dress from you rather than a competitor.
- Write the content
Naturally, your next job is to write the content and publish or schedule it to your blogging software. Always include at least one image with each blog post to add visual interest, plus other interactive elements where relevant, such as embedded product videos or infographics.
Naturally, it’s imperative to link back to appropriate pages on your main website and include a strong call to action at the end of the article. Don’t forget your SEO, either; tools such as Yoast for WordPress will guide you through the process and tell you when the article is fully optimised.
- Start guest blogging
Once your own blog is established, reciprocal guest blogging is a powerful way to create high quality backlinks to your website. You could offer to write an article for an industry leader and invite them to contribute their own pieces to your site. If local trade is key, find businesses in your area that have a synergy with yours (not your competitors, though!) and ask if you can add articles to their sites that link back to your own. This could really help your company stand out in local searches.
A word of warning on backlinks, however. As with all aspects of SEO, quality and relevance are key. Simply guest blogging on any old website just won’t work. The backlinks need to come from reputable websites that have a genuine connection to your industry. For example, a website selling summer dresses could successfully backlink from a local fashion designer – especially if the two companies do business together.
- Lack time or skills? Hire a copywriter.
Not everyone is a natural writer and not everyone has the time to write their own blog posts. Instead of spending hours agonising over articles – or worse still, not writing them at all – outsource the work to a copywriter.
A good copywriter will offer a flexible service that ranges from writing articles to a brief to researching topics from scratch and uploading them to your site, and everything in between. You’ll have the benefit and reassurance of knowing your blogs are in expert hands, so will be properly researched, well-written and correctly optimised. Yes, it’s a service you’ll have to pay for, but it will free up time to focus on your business.
Let’s make your website work for YOU, not your competitors
If you’d like to harness the power of effective blogging, get in touch today. I can help you put a robust process in place for you to manage yourself, or research and write the articles on your behalf. My content creation service includes sourcing suitable images to accompany each blog post and I can even create infographics to add extra visual interest.
To find out more and discuss your digital marketing requirements, please call me on 01636 922 747 or fill in my quick online contact form and I’ll be in touch shortly.
Chartered Marketer and CIM Fellow offering a personal and tailored web consultancy service to UK business owners and self-employed professionals. I formed Imagine Digital Marketing in December 2016 and I really enjoy helping my clients make the most of online opportunities.